With the passing of Neil Armstrong on Saturday, I thought it would be a good to remember to other pioneers who were the first to achieve the landmark milestones of space exploration.

  • First person in space and in orbit – 12th April 1961 – Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1
  • First to splashdown after reaching space – 5th May 1961 – Alan Shepard (first American in space) in Freedom 7
  • First person to spend more than 24 hours in space – 6th - 7th August 1961 – Gherman Titov in Vostok 2
  • First woman in space – 16th June 1963 – Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6
  • First person to conduct a spacewalk – 18th March 1965 – Alexei Leonov from Voskhod 2
  • First persons to spend a week in space – 21st - 29th August 1965 – Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad in Gemini 5
  • First space rendezvous – 15th December 1965 – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford between Gemini 7 and Gemina 6A

Gemini Rendezvous

  • First space docking – 16th March 1966 – Neil Armstrong and David Scott between Gemini 8 and an Agena Target Vehicle
  • First persons to orbit the moon – 24th - 25th December 1968 – Bill Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell in Apollo 8
  • First man on the moon – 20th July 1969 – Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11

Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module

  • First persons to spend four weeks in space – 25th May – 22nd June 1973 – Pete Conrad, Joseph Kerwin and Paul Weitz in Skylab 2
  • First American woman in space – June 18th 1983 – Sally Ride in Space Shuttle Challenger
  • First untethered spacewalk – 7th February 1984 – Bruce McCandless from Space Shuttle Challenger

Bruce McCandless Spacewalk

  • Persons in space for a year in space – 21st December 1987 – 1988 – Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov on the space station Mir

If you think any important firsts are missing let me know and I can add them. Images from NASA.gov.